Final Project Proposal

I have chosen to complete Option 1 for the final project, the teaching portfolio. To make the teaching portfolio more interactive, I will be creating a website for it using Wix. This way, when I start applying to jobs next year, I can merely direct potential employers to the website. It will include the following components, each separated onto different pages:

  1. About page
    1. This page will detail the basic information about me, both professional and personal. It will incorporate: 1) a professional picture, 2) a professional biography, which will describe my development as a psychologist and my ultimate career goals in academia, 3) my educational background, which will list my undergraduate, masters, and doctoral programs as well as my milestone achievements (e.g., thesis, dissertation, graduate certificate in college teaching), and 4) a personal biography, which will describe what I enjoy doing in my spare time (e.g., spending time with my dogs, working on art projects) and provide pictures to give a more tangible depiction of my personality.
  2. Teaching page
    1. This page will detail my orientation and experience in teaching. It will incorporate: 1) my teaching statement, 2) a teaching example, which will take the form of the teaching video module from this class, 3) my teaching experience, which will list the classes I have taught, 4) my specialty presentations, which will list the presentations I have given for various institutions, outside of conferences, and 5) my teaching workshops, which will list the teaching workshops I have attended.
    2. This page will also include subpages for each of the two classes I have taught (e.g., introduction to psychology, statistics) and one page for the classes I hope to teach. Each of these pages will incorporate 1) a background description, which will detail my experience with the course, 2) my example activities, which will include links to the full activity guidelines, 3) my future plans, which will explain what I hope to do with the course in the future, and 4) my student reviews (for the classes I have taught), which will provide example reviews along with links to the full list of student reviews.
  3. Service page
    1. This page will detail my style in service. It will incorporate: 1) my service philosophy, which will be a brief description of how I approach service, and 2) my service experience, which will list my experience with service, no matter the form it takes.
  4. Research page
    1. This page will detail my direction and progress in research. It will incorporate: 1) my research statement, which will describe my orientation to research, 2) my research interests, 3) my available datasets, which I will bring to my future position to use with undergraduates in their research endeavors, 4) my existing publications, which will include both the citation and the link to the article itself, 5) my working manuscripts, which are those that are in preparation or under review, 6) my grant applications, which were either funded or not funded, and 7) my conference presentations.
  5. Contact page
    1. This page will detail how to get into touch with me. It will incorporate 1) my contact information, which will include my university email, telephone number, and office location, and 2) a message portal, which individuals can use to send me a message through the website.

I do hope that I can get this done, but I am a bit “computer-stupid”, so fingers crossed! Please wish me luck. I will need it!

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I’ve never found a four-leaf clover before, but maybe it is time to start looking.

Until next time, bye!

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Teaching Statement

Most academics are familiar with an unfortunate stereotype – the professor of monotone voice and stiff movement (possibly wearing a tweed jacket with elbow patches). Higher education is often assumed to be a dull environment for students. Eyes are glazed over; shoes are restlessly tapping; and fingers are reaching towards phones as the lecture has droned on like the perpetual buzzing of a fly trapped in the classroom, which has more student attention than the tedious professor. My students and I strive to break this cliché. Because, together, we create a classroom where learning is stimulating, personal, and exciting.

Learning as a Stimulating Endeavor

In those unfamiliar with its methods, psychology is classified as intuition, art, or, in the worst conceptualization, fiction. But, as psychologists know, the field has much to offer, both in building general knowledge and boosting critical thinking. Indeed, with so many psychological myths floating in the public atmosphere, these abilities beg to be included. In class, my students and I attempt to foster as much stimulation of critical thinking as possible. Not only is it of great importance to the science of psychology, but such abilities assist students outside of any classroom, whether it be in pioneering their career, investing in a romantic relationship, or purchasing a house. But, students are not alone in this venture. Because we can all learn from one another, we often utilize small groups, combining students into groups of different backgrounds to encourage and challenge each other.

During class, my students and I make learning stimulating by identifying the everyday applications of psychological research, analyzing the differences between media portrayals and real life, detailing the human experience, etc: We break down emotions into its affective, cognitive, behavioral, and physiological features to analyze the multifaceted experience of emotion. We discuss how we have been impacted by stereotypes to realize inequalities in social treatment. We use childhood board games to examine how intelligence is reflected in daily tasks. We identify the healthy and unhealthy conflict management strategies presented in clips from television shows (e.g., How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, Modern Family). We diagnose a fictional character with a DSM-5 disorder to examine how the media often does poorly with depicting mental illness in a realistic manner. And, in the future, it is planned for students to complete projects they have designed themselves, encouraging students to learn independent of an instructor, outside of a classroom.

Learning as a Personal Endeavor

We are experts in our own experience. Therefore, my students and I utilize this preexisting knowledge by grounding material in our daily lives. Not only does this personal information assist in understanding and retaining information, but it is worth more to students. Students can see how the material is so much more than words on a page. When students learn about the research and results of psychology in a personal manner, they know beyond the facts and the theories. Students function better in their cognitive, emotional, and social lives, becoming happier, healthier people. And, such learning is not limited to gaining psychological knowledge, each activity is designed to improve upon life skills in some manner, whether it is as concrete as reading comprehensively or as abstract as communicating clearly.

To make learning personal, in class, we analyze ourselves, discuss student problems, tell stories, etc: We take established measures of personality or implicit-association tests to get to know ourselves better. We find journal articles on topics of interest to share and discuss with the class. We describe interesting events from our lives then analyze how different brain areas were involved. We outline, step-by-step, our plan of action if we ever believe one of our friends is suicidal, after reviewing appropriate guidelines. We uni-task, and multi-task to test our true ability in doing one vs. two tasks at the same time. And, in the future, I have planned for students to have even more control of their learning by having them select course topics and recommend syllabus edits, ensuring students are learning what they want and how they want.

Learning as an Exciting Endeavor

My students and I design class to be a place where information and skills are not just gained, but sought. We attempt to imbue as much fun as possible into each day of class. When doing so, we learn more. But, more importantly, students learn to love learning, inspired to be learners for life beyond the four walls (or one screen) of the classroom. I attempt to wake a desire to learn in my students that does not stop when the class ends after a few months, but lasts for years. Just as Bill Nye the Science Guy spiked interest in general science through nifty experiments and catchy expressions in 80s and 90s children, with my students, I strive to be similar in a balanced combination of education and enjoyment to encourage learning, aspiring to be Professor G the Psychology Marquis (despite being female).

In class, my students and I make learning exciting with crafts, videos, articles, etc: We make neurons out of pipe cleaners or found material. We try recommended coping mechanisms, such as mindful breathing, art projects, and cognitive reframing. We identify defense mechanisms in clips from recent and not-so-recent movies and television shows (e.g., Footloose, Finding Nemo, Friends). We use an article titled “Emotion regulation, procrastination, and watching cat videos online: Who watches Internet cats, why, and to what effect?” (Myrick, 2015) to examine correlational research. We analyze posts on facebook for their emotional content. And, in future classes, plans include playing charades to demonstrate the efficiency of scripts and watching clips of animals to discuss non-human personality traits.

Conclusion

Stereotypes are perpetuating. Stuffy professors may continue to be the immediate thought for someone prompted to think of higher education. But, acknowledging I am still learning, I am not of monotone voice or stiff movement (although, I hope to eventually own a tweed jacket with elbow patches). And, barring a few of my failures not to be repeated, my students’ eyes are not glazed over, shoes are not restlessly tapping, and fingers are not reaching towards phones. Together, my students and I do well in avoiding clichés in our stimulating, personal, and exciting classes.

Barkley’s (2010) Student Engagement Techniques

Barkley (2010) got my attention in the first page of the preview.

Bain (2004) was an informative book, but the professors he studied appeared to have no problems, beyond what was recognized in one or two sentences in about 175 pages. They didn’t appear to face plagiarism or miscommunication. But, Barkley (2010) readily admitted her difficulties as a teacher. I connect with that honest because I’ve experienced the same problems.

I taught statistics for two sections last year. I tried my hardest to get students involved, but it was challenging to get criminal justice and sociology majors to value a topic of which they can appreciate the importance to the general world, but not their specific lives. No student wanted to do research, so learning about statistics was deemed irrelevant. The truth of that evaluation can be debated, as students may never have to do statistics directly themselves at any time but they’ll be indirectly reading about statistics that other people conducted for their entire lives. And, although the class rated the course well (as it wasn’t as bad as they thought it would be), I know that I have to do better in engaging my students, despite the difficulty of that venture, in any additional statistics class I teach.

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I’m certainly familiar with this facial expression in my statistics class. (Who knew they made gargoyle statues that look like this?)

And, this book is how I do so. Sure, to be honest, I’ve heard about some of these techniques before. But, the seemingly-simple act betrays the sincerely-sophisticated method used to scour websites, attend conferences, and interview colleagues to collect almost all the techniques known to man and describe them in a manner that is succinct but understandable. Because, even though I’m familiar with many of these techniques, I often forget about them when trying to organize for class. Such is expected, as human memory is quite terrible and mine is especially bad. So, having this resource, sitting on a shelf waiting for me until I need it, will be a great help and, in doing so, is a great confidence boost.

Of course, these techniques aren’t really ones to just implement immediately, as they must be adapted to the specific class at hand. But, I do consider this to be a good quality. It broadens the book to all disciplines while forcing professors to think about what is needed for their class. Because, to be strong teachers, I believe plugging and chugging in our classes is not the best. It will take more time, especially when trying to applying the techniques to statistics classes, but I am happy to face that challenge.

So, I look forward to reading through the rest of the text. Despite the advice provided by Barkley (2010), I think I’m going to start to read it like a book – page by page. That way, I can really think over how to apply each technique to my individual classes. And, hopefully, after the time and effort, my students will appreciate it by being engaged learners, even in my statistics classes.

Until next time: Bye!

Metacognition Module Reflection

In sum, I would say that I’m 75% happy with my video.

The Pros: Lecture, Timing, Humor.

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These parts of the video made me as happy as this dog.

It could be better, but I’m pleased with what I had to say over the audio. I think I was effective in explaining metacognition and applying it to study strategies, which I considered to be an appropriate application, given the intention of the video. Doing so, I believe I was able to compact a lot of information into less than 6 minutes. And, getting it under 6 minutes was quite a feat in itself. All in all, my script translated into over 10 minutes spoken aloud, but I was able to make the necessary cuts to make it shorter, which I believed improved the video greatly. I had to talk a little faster than I would usually, but I think the faster pace worked out well. I also liked that I was able to put in a few humorous items. I know it’s not the most important thing when it comes to teaching, but I like to spice up my lectures a bit to keep students engaged. However, I do try to keep the humor light, to keep it appropriate for the classroom. I think I did well with that in this video.

The Cons: Visuals.

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These parts of the video made me as sad as this dog.

However, I’m not so happy with the visuals. I had hoped to video myself talking to the camera to show my face-to-face lecture style. Although I gave it a try, I soon gave up on that venture. I felt so awkward, which was reflected in the resulting product. That, coupled with thinking that I look young for a professor, pushed me to make the entire video a voice-over. I’m happy with that choice in the end, but I do wish I was able to figure out a way in which I was comfortable lecturing to the camera. I was also hoping to use advanced software for the visuals. Sadly, it turned out the software I was looking at (i.e., Camtasia) is only editing software. So, I ended up using PowerPoint and Tegrity. After the assignment was submitted, I was inspired by a fellow student to check out a different software that would allow for the advanced features for which I was looking, but it’s $300. I certainly cannot afford that. Not now and probably not later. I think I’ve resigned myself to using the basics, but I believe I’m okay with that. I’m learning more about PowerPoint and think it will serve my purposes well for upcoming plans – I’m going to try to make interactive book chapters for readings by editing an open access textbook in PowerPoint – even though I’m trying to lecture almost never in future classes.

P.S. I’m currently redoing this assignment, trying to improve it, as I want to post the video on my teaching portfolio website. So, constructive criticism is very welcome – please share your thoughts!

 

Metacognition Video

Hello all,

Here is my video for my teaching module on metacognition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NRFz40n-J9I

After the video, to check your learning, here are your two challenges:

First, give the metacognitive strategies discussed in this talk a try, doing so within 48 hours and continuing for a couple of weeks. Human beings are a distractable species, so trying these strategies now rather than later improves the chances of successful implementation. And, because these are strategies that are based in skills, they will take some time to be effective. So be patient with yourself.

Second, by using metacognition to evaluate what you need to do better in classes, design and implement your own metacognitive strategies, built on what you believe will help you best.

And, if you can, make sure to let me know how these two challenges go by posting in the comment section below!

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MetaCognition for MetaPerformance

For my topic, I will be covering metacognition, which is a fancy word for a simple concept. Metacognition is thinking about thinking, or, more broadly, thinking about any cognitive process, such as memory or learning. So, for instance, on my way to work, having a mental debate of whether I locked the door is an irritating exemplar of metacognition (…“I remember locking the door, but is that only because I thought of locking the door … or, maybe I’m just remembering when I locked the door yesterday”…). Other examples include questioning whether we are prepared for an exam or questioning whether our political theories are sound. As one might guess, this topic is relevant to learning. I’m not too familiar with the research, but there are findings that note that metacognition is a significant predictor of achievement, even when controlling for various demographic variables, such as gender and socioeconomic status. The course could easily be applied to the teacher’s role, but I’ll be orienting it to the student’s perspective, as I’ll be putting this video on my teaching portfolio (or, maybe more realistically, I’ll be posting a second edition of this video on my teaching portfolio, after getting feedback on the course from the class). This way, my prospective employers can get a glimpse into how I lecture to undergraduate students, despite trying to limit my lecture time in future classes.

Content Description

For the course, I want to focus on two main issues: 1) what is metacognition, and 2) how metacognition relates to learning. I do want to spend some time defining metacognition, as it is not a term frequently heard in everyday life – unless you are a psychology nerd. But, I want to spend most of the time discussing how metacognition can be used to help students, specifically in their education. (Although I would love to spend some time discussing how metacognition can be used to help out in other arenas [e.g., interpersonal relationships], I thought this lens would be the most helpful).

Instructional Strategy*

For the course, I’m planning on creating a video that appears somewhat similar to those produced by DNews. I’ve always appreciated their excitement for learning, so I hope to mirror that for my course. So, in that spirit, I’m planning on interspersing me speaking to the screen (to show my lecture style) with funny pictures (to keep students engaged) and written text (to allow for different learning styles). During my course, I’ll try my best to include real life examples, presented through explanations and activities, to make the content meaningful for each student. And, at the end of the course, I’ll provide prompts and readings for students to take the content one step further.

Student Learning Objectives**

Through this course, the following are set as goals for each student.

Gain psychological knowledge:

  • Students will be able to explain the concept of metacognition, as shown by being able to recall the definition of metacognition and identify common examples of metacognition in everyday life.
  • Students will be able to discuss how metacognition can be used to boost learning.

Improve life skills:

  • Students will improve existing learning strategies by trying suggested metacognitive techniques.
  • Students will take command of their own learning by designing and implementing their own metacognitive techniques.

* I heard about a new kind of video software (i.e., Camtasia) through a conference I attended. So, although these are my hopes for the video, it may or may not pan out, depending on the features available.

** This is a new method of designing student learning objectives that I want to try, as inspired by Bain’s (2004) emphasis on teaching the whole student, regardless of specific discipline. I would love to know what you guys think.